Saturday, February 23, 2013

Two Pictures Worth Thousands And Thousands Of Words

My original intent was to write a brilliant, penetrating, insightful treatise on the woeful state of our public school systems. Then I got busy, it got late, and the Shiner starting calling. So instead I'm just posting these two charts.

You're all smart people. You'll figure it out.

As the chart above shows:
Since 1970, inflation adjusted public school spending has more than doubled. Over the same period, achievement of students at the end of high school has stagnated according to the Department of Education’s own long term National Assessment of Educational Progress (see chart above). Meanwhile, the high school graduation rate has declined by 4 or 5%, according to Nobel laureate economist James Heckman.

So the only thing higher public school spending has accomplished is to raise taxes by about $300 billion annually, without improving outcomes.
The question that immediately comes to mind is, of course, where is all that money going? The answer may be found in the next chart.

Administrative bloat in US public schools
America’s public schools are bloated with bureaucracy and skinny on results.  Nationwide since 1950, the number of public school administrative and non-teaching positions has soared 702 percent while the student population increased just 96 percent. Over that same period, teachers’ numbers also increased — 252 percent — but still far short of administrators and non-teaching personnel (see chart above).

Notably, that hiring trend has been just as prominent over the past two decades. From 1992 to 2009, students’ numbers increased 17 percent whereas administrators and other non-teaching staff rose 46 percent. And during that time, some states actually lost students yet kept hiring more non-teachers.
Not only are those administrators a sponge that soaks up school funding (or, more aptly, leeches that suck the life out of our schools), but they also interfere with the schools mission of educating our children. I don't have the time or energy to go into detail here, but if you have kids in the public school system you can probably cite your own examples.

Locally, I'm constantly amazed at the absurd amount of money spent on King Football here in Texas (and I like high school football - I just think the money could be more wisely spent).

Then we have teachers unions that advocate for seniority over performance.

Keep all this in mind the next time you here some liberal whining that we don't spend enough money on education.

Just in case the liberal you're talking with isn't convinced, here's another piece of data to beat them over the head with.
It is finally dawning on liberals that Head Start, America's 50-year experiment with early childhood education, is a failure.
A Department of Health and Human Services study found that:
The positive effects Head Start has on children (which are mild to begin with) simply vanish by the children's first year of school.  Head Start kids are no better off than those not in the program, but taxpayers are billions poorer.
It took 50 years and billions of dollars to figure out that Head Start was nothing more than a glorified baby-sitting service?



Old NFO said...

And don't forget all those HIGH salaries those administrators get... Actual cost per pupil has gone down, not up!

Toejam said...

I graduated from a North New Jersey high school in 1960. Male teachers wore suits and ties and were addressed by their last names. Female teachers wore modest dresses.

Students were mandated to wear shirts with collars and NO jeans.

Good attendance and arriving on time to home room were recorded and were as important as our grades as they were part of the report cards.

A few years ago I took my daughter back to my high school for a quick tour.

Holy cow what a shock. Most of the teachers were dressed sloppier than the students. Jeans and hoodies were the order of the day. Students called teachers by their first names. Getting to classes on time was optional as kids hung out in the hallways yappin and playing with their cellphones.

Do I have a " reality adjustment problem"?

According to my daughter I do.

jeff said...

Could not agree with you more Toejam. I had the same shock when I picked up my kid form junior high. The hallways looked like the food court at at rock concert, and the kids were in shorts and flip flops. Nothing like our dress code in '70s.
Tim - Excellent post and I have always considered Head Start to be an early babysitting program paid for by you and me.

CenTexTim said...

NFO - you're 100% right. Administrators get paid much more than teachers.

Toejam - agreed. Private schools have no problem enforcing a dress code - for students AND teachers.

Jeff - thanks. Head Start is a jobs program for teachers, not an educational program.

Bear said...

The similarities between publik edjumacashun and the gummint exhibited by this post are rather frightening...

CenTexTim said...

You're right, Bear. Neither one is functional.